An Overview on Scapulothoracic Bursitis
(Snapping Scapula Syndrome)
The scapula, commonly known as the shoulder blade, is responsible for a large amount of movement in the shoulder and upper body. Scapula motion is typically smooth because of a fluid filled sac, the scapulothoracic bursa, which aids in the movement of the scapula against the ribcage. When this bursa becomes inflamed from a shoulder injury or overuse, scapulothoracic bursitis of the shoulder, or snapping scapula syndrome, may occur. Chicago, Westchester, Oak Brook and Hinsdale, Illinois area orthopedic shoulder specialist, Dr. Nikhil Verma specializes in a number of shoulder injuries, including snapping scapula syndrome.
Snapping scapula syndrome is characterized by a grinding, grating, snapping or popping sensation of the scapula on the back side of the ribs. This is caused by weakening of the muscles underneath the scapula causing the scapula to sit closer to the ribcage. This injury occurs most commonly in young, active patients who participate in sports activities that require repetitive overhead movements. Other shoulder injuries such as arthritis, a past shoulder separation and a ligament or muscle tear can also contribute to this condition.
Symptoms of Snapping Scapula Syndrome
Patients will experience a variety of symptoms based on the severity of the injury. The most common symptoms patients experience are painful clicking, grinding or snapping of the scapula area. Pain may also be present under the scapula with shoulder movement.
Diagnosis of Snapping Scapula Syndrome
Dr. Verma and his orthopedic team will perform a thorough physical examination and medical review to begin the diagnosis. An MRI will be performed to examine the possibility of any soft-tissue issues. An X-ray will also be performed to examine the bony structures of the joint and rule out any bone disorders.